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The Bourne Conspiracy - Get Rebourne

Author: Tristan Burke
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
The Bourne Conspiracy is the first official video game inspired by the Bourne films. 3D’s Tristan Burke delves into the virtual world of Jason Bourne with Emmanuel Valdez, the chief creative officer of the game’s developers, High moon Studios.

The Bourne films have redefined movie action; have you felt pressure to do the same for action in gaming-
This is High Moon Studios’ first attempt as a studio to develop a third person action game, so redefining action gaming was definitely an expectation but not necessarily our first priority in making The Bourne Conspiracy. There was more pressure in figuring out how to even make an action game let alone one that will redefine the genre. By using the Bourne movies as a guide for creating the videogame version of the character, we were educated in the thoughts and concepts that went into making Bourne so unique and stand out among all the previous action movies. To faithfully re-create that type of action for the game was an overwhelming challenge but ultimately I believe we have delivered a great action game that will redefine how players look at action games through pace, intensity, cinematography, and style.

Even when translating movie properties that seem so perfectly suited to gaming, film license games tend to fail; why do you think that is-
By the time the game development team gets the green light to start developing a game based off a movie property, the production window and schedule is often way too short to deliver a quality gameplay experience. Other times the developer fails to capture the essence of the property, the feeling of being the characters, or in the deconstruction the movie into fun and interesting gameplay experiences.

To ensure that the game is faithful as well as thrilling, Bourne scriptwriter Tony Gilroy worked on it, along with the films’ fight choreographer Jeff Imada – can you tell us a little about those collaborations-
Tony Gilroy was the screenwriter of all three Bourne movies and was primarily responsible for creating the movie version of the character, which is the more contemporary version and the visual representation that many Bourne fans are familiar with. He provided us guidelines and principles that were established in the development of the movie version of Bourne, which helped focus our designers in crafting the interactive version.

To capture the look and feel of the fight and action style from the movies, we enlisted Jeff Imada to design all the fighting moves and takedowns. He also directed the motion capture sessions using his own crew, many of whom worked on the Bourne movies.

Did the actors have any participation in the game-
The only actor associated with the movies that participated in the making of this game was Franka Potente, AKA Marie Kreutz – Jason Bourne’s love interest in the movie. She reprised the role in the game by providing the voiceovers work for the character.

Like the rumoured next Bourne film instalment, the game operates off the map with an original story that’s not specifically based on one of Robert Ludlum’s celebrated novels; what can fans of Ludlum’s world expect from The Bourne Conspiracy-
The game’s story is a mix of some key story and action moments from The Bourne Identity, so we weren’t totally off the map. What is new is that we have flashback missions where players will get to experience Jason Bourne when he was a fully functional super human assassin with his memory intact. That storyline will tell the story of how Bourne develops the conscience of guilt and remorse, which triggered his inability to assassinate a political target, Wombossi from The Bourne Identity. The first three missions in The Bourne Conspiracy are the days prior to that event and let players experience and play that mission.

With the public now demanding more than ever from their gaming experience, what were some of the biggest challenges during The Bourne Conspiracy’s development-
There are many games in the third person action category that have a similar collection of features and experiences. The challenge was to set our game apart from the competition as any good developer will strive to do, but the ultimate challenge was to transform players into becoming Jason Bourne.

Does the game utilise any revolutionary new gaming technology-
One of the experiences players will obviously and not so obviously recognise is a very cinematic approach that we took with how our cameras work from framing to cuts and edits. There have been many cinematic games before us but I believe we have introduced camera logic and strategies that focus on pace and action that will be a revolutionary technique and piece of gaming technology. We treated the camera like a character in the game, a phantom cameraman that will follow players throughout the game. The result is camera behaviours that look and feel as if you were watching a Bourne movie with the style influenced by the hand held camerawork of Paul Greengrass, the director of the Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum movies.

With the runaway success of properties like Halo and Grand Theft Auto – GTV IV in particular being praised as almost Oscar-worthy for giving an immersive, heavily cinematic experience – do you think games are destined to be taken more seriously as an art form-

If we continue to build on cinematic experiences, videogames will be more accepted since the mass market understands the “language of film”, where games can be firmly placed in more familiar territory. Game developers are starting to extrapolate more techniques, processes, and concepts that go towards movie production and can be applied to create more appealing games and experiences that will be more widely accepted and appreciated. Once the industry has received the respect it deserves as a more legitimate from of entertainment, will we see an expanded appreciation of videogames for the more eccentric and niche games and will showcase a more broad range in the world of gaming. The result will be event driven games that rival summer blockbuster hits and niche games that will be similar to an independent movie.

What’s your personal favourite part of the game to play-
The hand-to-hand combat really captures the look and feel from the movie. I am most proud of how we gave players the ability to perform takedowns anywhere, and I do mean anywhere, in the game. They’re brutally entertaining, cinematic, and always satisfying to perform and watch.

Finally, are there plans afoot for Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum game sequels- Have any tentative release dates been set-
No plans yet, but we have a bunch of ideas on where to take the game. We will have to wait and see how well The Bourne Conspiracy does first!  We here at High Moon Studios would love to develop another Bourne game.

WHAT: The Bourne Conspiracy on PlayStation3 and Xbox 360
WHEN: Out Thursday 5 June